What Are the Benefits of a Limited Ingredient Diet?
If you take a stroll through the dog food aisle at your local pet store you shouldn’t be surprised to find a wide selection of brand names and dozens of different recipes to choose from. The vast majority of options available can make it difficult for dog owners to make a choice. If you want to maximize your dog’s nutritional benefits while minimizing his risk for food allergies and other diet-related problems, you may want to consider a Limited Ingredient Diet (LID).
Related: What is a Limited Ingredient Diet?
What is a Limited Ingredient Diet?
A limited ingredient diet is exactly what it sounds like – a diet that is made up of a limited number of ingredients. If you scan the ingredients list for traditional kibbles, you may find that the list includes as many as twenty or thirty entries. Furthermore, many of these ingredients may be difficult to identify – they either have chemical-sounding names or they are byproducts. With a limited ingredient diet, you can expect the ingredients list to be much shorter and, in many cases, the ingredients used in the formula are of high quality and they are easy to identify. Many limited ingredient diets also make use of “novel” protein and carbohydrate sources – that is uncommon sources like rabbit or duck for protein and things like green peas or sweet potato for carbohydrate.
Related: What is Resource Guarding in Dogs?
What are the Benefits of LIDs for Dogs?
The main benefit of a limited ingredient diet for dogs is a reduced risk for food sensitivities. Many commercial dog foods are made with low-quality ingredients and ingredients that have a high risk for triggering food sensitivities. The more your dog is exposed to potential sensitivities, the greater his risk for developing a sensitivity. The way limited ingredient diets work is by removing those potential sensitivities from the equation, swapping in ingredients that your dog may not have eaten before to further reduce the risk for an allergic reaction. If your dog suffers from food sensitivities, you should consider switching to an LID for a period of at least 12 weeks until all signs of the allergy have disappeared. Then, you may choose to reintroduce potential sensitivities one at a time in order to determine which ones affect your dog. Then, simply feed your dog a diet that is free from those sensitivities for the rest of his life.
In addition to reducing the risk for food sensitivities, feeding your dog a limited ingredient diet may offer other benefits such as:
- Reduced stomach sensitivity issues, relief from digestive upset
- Improved energy levels related to proper nutrition and nutrient absorption
- Relief from skin problems such as itching, flaking, and hot spots
- Improved digestion and regularity, fewer and firmer stools
- May have a lower carbohydrate content (depending on the formula)
- Limited number of ingredients often means no/fewer artificial additives
The diet you choose for your dog plays a significant role in determining his overall health and wellbeing. A nutritious diet made of high-quality ingredients has the best chance of maximizing your dog’s lifespan and keeping him healthy and a limited ingredient diet just might be the best option for your dog.
Kate Barrington is the loving owner of two cats (Bagel and Munchkin) and a noisy herd of guinea pigs. Having grown up with golden retrievers, Kate has a great deal of experience with dogs but labels herself a lover of all pets. Having received a Bachelor's degree in English, Kate has combined her love for pets and her passion for writing to create her own freelance writing business, specializing in the pet niche.
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